The trailhead up Mt. Bierstadt is already at 12,000 ft, which makes this peak one of the easiest 14ers to hike in Colorado. If you are looking for a hike that won’t take all day but still offer a incredible view, Mt. Bierstadt is for you. My friends and I decided that we should do a 14er before it gets too cold and we were lucky that the weather decided to be nice to us and offer a good clear day after a couple weeks of consistent rain in Colorado. Since we didn’t have a class on Monday, we got lucky to be able to avoid the usual crowd on the weekend. Just for those of you who don’t live in Colorado, doing a 14er is awfully popular among outdoor enthusiasts here, so every 14ers tend to be extremely crowded on weekends.
Round Trip Length: 7 Miles
Elevation Gain: 2,850
Parking: there’s a parking equipped with restroom at the trailhead. Parking fills up extremely quickly.
Difficulty: The hike is easy. The initial 1/3 portion of the hike is relatively flat. This hike involves a class two terrain scramble. It is really easy and short but just something to be aware of.
My friends and I woke up at 2am to leave Fort Collins. We wanted to start before sunrise to make sure that we don’t hit any afternoon thunderstorm. Although rain wasn’t in the forecast, weather in the mountains is extremely unpredictable. A nice sunny day can turn into hours of rain and snow in a matter of minutes.
The drive from Fort Collins to the trailhead wasn’t too bad considering that there were pretty much no traffic. That’s also one thing I love about Colorado, the traffic is very mild here compared to California.
Once at the trailhead, we were pretty much freezing our butts off. It was August, but it was cold already at 4am at 12,000 ft. I bundled up and wore literally every coat I had and I was still a bit cold. There was one way to warm up…hike! We booked it down the first flat portion of the train to get heart pumping and heat going. After a few minutes, it was time to delayered.
The hike up Bierstadt is extremely obvious. The trail is well travelled and marked. There’s no chance of getting lost here. Although people do like to make their own paths, the main trail is still easy to follow.
Just a mile away from the summit, the sun finally woke up and we were in awe by one of the coolest sunrises I have ever seen. As you approach the summit, the trail certainly gets steeper so I thought that it was easier to just keep moving slowly rather than taking breaks. The scramble class 2 section was very easy to manage and you can find ways to go around big boulders. The summit was obviously extremely rewarding and beautiful.
If you feel more adventurous, you can also traverse from Mt. Bierstadt to Mt. Evans via the Sawtooth Ridge. It is a much more exposed and difficult hike and will definitely requires the use of hands. Having fell off a bouldering problem just days before, my legs were hurting so I decided to go back down to the car while the rest of my friends continued to Mt. Evans.
Overall, this was a great hike that should be doable by most people with reasonable fitness. I highly recommend if you have 5-6 hours and want to see the rock mountain range.
Cool, like all the info plus great pictures. I will have to check it out when I go to Colorado next. Not so sure about 4 am wake up, but I guess I will survive.
haha yea, we woke up early to avoid thunderstorm that is so common in the afternoon during summer. But if the weather is nice and you already stay near by like in Golden or Boulder, then you don’t need to wake up as early. A lot of people start much later like 8 or 9 it’s just that if you don’t get to the summit by noon, it could rain!
Gorgeous scenery, very fitting for a mountain I assume is named after Albert Bierstadt, the famous landscape painter of the the mid- to late-19th Century.
Hey Todd, thanks for the comment. The scenery is unbelievable. I have no idea about the history of this mountain but that sounds about right!
Beautiful hike and scenery!